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Please answer the following questions about The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams:...

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truelov | (Level 1) Honors

Posted April 22, 2013 at 12:02 AM via web

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Please answer the following questions about The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams:

Describe Amanda's recollections of the Sundays in blue Mountain

What is Laura doing at the opening of the Scene II?
Explain what Amanda discovered when she went to Rubicams.Tell what Laura has been doing instead of going to school.
What is Laura's handicap?
 what four things does laura do instead of going to school.

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carol-davis | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted April 24, 2013 at 2:18 PM (Answer #1)

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In The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams, Amanda Wingfield fluctuates between reality and the illusionary world that all of the characters in the story live. When she was a girl living in Blue Mountain, her Sundays were spent entertaining young men who would come to court her. She called them “gentlemen callers.” One particular Sunday, Amanda had seventeen different callers at her house. 

Amanda uses the gentleman callers as examples of proper behavior to try to get Tom to improve his conversation and etiquette. This comparison only serves to strengthen the barrier that is between the two of them.  As she describes the different men, Tom, tired of hearing the stories, baits her with questions trying to aggravate his mother.

The opening of Scene II

Laura, a gentle, sensitive young woman, sits in a chair cleaning her glass menagerie as the scene opens.  She polishes each one with great care.  When Laura hears her mother coming, she reacts.  Quickly, Laura hides her animals and the wash basin.  Then, she sits where there is a typewriter and begins studying the keyboard. It is obvious that something has happened to Amanda when the audience sees her face.

The Rubicam Incident

Amanda returns after going downtown to visit the Rubicam Business School, which is the school that Laura was enrolled to attend. Amanda learns that Laura has not being going to school since the first week of the semester.  The teacher does not know who Laura is until she remembers a shy girl whose hands shook so badly that she could not hit the right keys.  When the class took the first speed test, she was sick to her stomach and almost had to be carried out of the room. 

Amanda asks Laura what she has been doing all of this time when she was supposed to be in class.

Laura: I’ve been going out walking…I went in the art museum and bird houses at the Zoo. I visited the penguins every day! Sometimes I went without lunch and went  to the movies.

The thing that most upsets Amanda is Laura's deceptive behavior and not admitting that she had stopped going to school.   Laura responds by telling her mother that Amanda gets such a sad face when she is disappointed.

What is wrong with Laura?

Laura’s biggest defect is her extreme shyness.  This personality quirk seems to arise in part from her domineering mother.  In addition, Laura has a limp and sometimes wears a brace for it. Her self-consciousness about her handicap has also stigmatized her as well.

The limp has overcome her personality and left her with an inferiority complex.  She has been unable to overcome this sensitivity and has resorted to living in  the illusive world of her glass animals and her old records.  Using other illnesses to cover her inability to cope in the outside world provides her excuse for not investing in the real world. As Tom notes, Laura is different.  

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